Samsung is serious about proving that Apple’s patents and hardware design, the very elements Apple accuses Samsung of misappropriating, have themselves been copied from the earlier works of others. Yesterday, we shared what Samsung had to present regarding the history of pinch-to-zoom, showing a Mitsubishi-made touchscreen system with some very similar functionality. Samsung is following that up by going after the design of the iPad itself, calling upon the testimony of the designer of a much earlier tablet.
Roger Fidler, now with the University of Missouri’s Reynolds Journalism Institute, has been working on his vision of a tablet since the early 80s. His design goals, for a tablet that was “lightweight, portable, with a flat screen that had an ability to use a touch screen” are the same things we look for today. He toiled away at his idea for years, and by the mid-90s had some prototypes put together. Critical to Samsung’s case, Fidler shared these designs with Apple.
If Samsung can convince the jury that Apple’s iPad design isn’t itself original, then Samsung can hardly be held accountable for developing a similar product with its Galaxy Tab series, or so the company’s logic presumably goes. Even if it doesn’t come up with any “slam dunk” evidence, all this prior art it’s been bringing to light may help convince the jury that Apple hasn’t exactly been the original creator of some of the ideas behind its iconic products.
Unfortunately, we haven’t yet gotten a look at Fidler’s designs themselves, so it’s difficult to say just how closely they may resemble the iPad.
Update: Check out a video of the tablet in question below. Sure, it uses a stylus, but Samsung might just have a point here.